Western Growers was established in 1926 to provide growers of fresh produce in California and Arizona with support programs that could not be generated by any single grower operating alone.
The organization, which began as Western Growers Protective Association, was created to give the growers a single voice in negotiating with the railroad in the late 1920s.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Daryl Arnold was president. During that time, the association membership grew significantly. It was the heat of the labor strife between growers and labor unions in the West. To service members, the staff of the organization also grew from 30 to more than 200. A majority of these people worked primarily on administering health programs for the fresh produce industry.
Arnold left the association to become U.S. Ambassador to Singapore, and David Moore was named WGA president in 1987. Don Dressler was named president of the Western Growers Insurance Services. Within the next 10 years, Western Growers met the many challenges facing the industry and continued to create innovative products and services to assist its membership. By the year 2000, the organization had expanded its offerings to nearly 50 products and services.
Today, Western Growers has a new president, Tom Nassif, whose tenure began in February 2002. In a short period of time, the association has undergone many positive changes.
In 2002, the organization embarked on an aggressive and exciting strategic plan with a bold vision leading the organization. Our goal is to lead our members and the fresh produce industry globally toward a healthy, sustainable and profitable future. Specifically, the organization has set six objectives toward achieving this vision:
- Create a more positive political and regulatory climate.
- Demonstrate Western Growers alignment with consumers.
- Increase consumption of fruits, vegetables and nuts.
- Grow membership.
- Build communication capacity.
- Evaluate and reorganize Western Growers financial and organizational structure.
After more than 75 years, Western Growers updated and modernized its logo. The new logo, shown on Page 5 along with the old logo, represents an increased emphasis on the Western produce industry putting a more public face on what it does on a day-by-day basis. Bringing everything under the “Western Growers” umbrella signifies that we are one company that is multi-faceted.
From the challenges faced in the past 25 years, and looking to the issues facing the industry in the next 25, one principle will remain the same — Western Growers will continue to represent the fresh produce industry as a single voice on their most critical issues.